Behavioral Cycles – Applying Training Ideas To Life (195IQ Plan)

| by Truth Seeker |

Regular readers are probably familiar with the concept of training cycles as I’ve written about it in articles and books.

But for those who don’t know, I’ll summarize.

A training cycle works like this:

  1. You start light and gradually build to a heavy weight over time.
  2. When things get tough, you drop the weight.
  3. You start again with a light load that’s slightly higher than the previous starting point.
  4. You try to set a new PR.
  5. Repeat until death.
  6. Call it a life.

You can also replace the exercises instead of starting light again. For, example you can start a cycle with a high bar squat and finish it with a low bar as you can lift more weight.

The point is this – training cycles take into account that you aren’t a machine and give you time to recover.

But more importantly, they allow room for periodic experiments.

And a while ago, I realized something important.

You can apply cycling to your behavior too.

No. This isn’t some brutal life hack that will make you a superhuman. But it’s pretty interesting from time to time.

Allow me to explain fully, as initially, it will sound somewhat weird.

Here’s how that works.

You can’t change without trying new things. And one of the biggest obstacles in front of new horizons is overcoming the starting barrier.

And since a cycle has an expiration date by definition, it’s easier to trick yourself into trying something new.

Let’s say, for example, that you are a naturally angry person. The type that’s one second away from exploding and raging.

Changing forever is unrealistic and difficult to conceive. But you can easily make a deal with yourself to be a calmer person for 2-4 weeks. A training cycle that can produce results is at least 2 weeks long. And I don’t see a reason why we shouldn’t use this time frame as a minimum for behavioral cycles too.

Back to the story. The angry person can force himself to be somewhat calmer for just 2-4 weeks. It’s not impossible.

And then after 2-4 weeks, he can reevaluate the outcome. Chances are it’s going to be positive.


This method also uses a very effective tactic for slowly introducing a variable/parameter/habit/state of being long-term without causing short-term turmoil.

The greedy elite relies on this strategy all the time to do evil things, of course.

For instance, when they introduce a new form of restriction or requirements for the plebs, they make it appear temporary even though it’s almost always long-term.

The pandemic is a good example. When it hit, everybody thought that the measures would last maybe a couple of months, but they lasted years…and could also return at one point.

Well, that technique can also be used for good (like other tools).

One of the reasons why it’s harder to change is black-and-white thinking. For instance, if you make a fatso dude exercise hard, there’s a lower chance that he will stick with the plan if he is convinced the initial pain will last forever.

But if he only has to struggle for a little while, it’s easier. And little by little, a new habit is introduced.


Let’s use me as an example.

People call me negative, but I am not. I am simply too realistic. Yes, there’s a difference. But since reality is often negative, I often appear as a turbo-pessimist.

I can also be a little too emotional for my liking. And I’ve found out for myself, that being too emotional always has a somewhat unpleasant outcome in the long run.

So, I did a 3-week cycle during which I was supposed to be maximally neutral when it came to emotions (you can’t eliminate them) and a bit more positive (lol). Not unrealistically positive, though.

In other words, if a situation could have a REAL positive or a negative outcome, I’d force myself to hope/believe in the positive development.

Well, it kinda worked. During those 3 weeks, I wasn’t perfect and I went “off my diet” at times but overall I stuck with the plan. The outcome was this:

  • I got more work done.
  • I was in a better mood on average.
  • My emotional state was more stable (hence the higher productivity).
  • People found me more “sympathetic” so to speak.

The catch?

You can’t do this forever. You can’t run from your roots, but you can certainly add a positive nuance.

If you get stuck with the same cycle for a long time, it will stop being effective. Thus, it’s wise to switch to new cycles periodically after re-examining the situation, your goals, and the outcome of the previous cycle(s).

Also, don’t add “too much weight”. In other words, don’t try to do too many things in a single cycle – 1-2 requirements are plenty. The more variables you add, the less likely you are to remain consistent and derive valuable data from your analysis.

Here are some ideas to consider for a behavioral cycle:

  • Not using social media for more than 15 minutes a day (calculate the time with a watch)
  • Not arguing with anybody over anything (being like water)
  • Applying a different strategy when going on dates. E.g., Keeping the date short…etc.
  • Reducing Internet usage
  • Dressing better
  • Trying a new diet
  • Training with higher reps

…etc.

The Difference Between a Wish and Intention

What most people call “intention” are actually wishes.

The fat guy wishes that he gets slimmer but has no intent to do so.

The social media addict wishes to end doomscrolling but has no intent to do so.

The lonely woman living with the cats wishes to find a husband but has no intent to do so, and the only thing changing is the number of cats.

The “writer” who would write a book if he had time is also a “wisher”.

…etc.

So, what’s the difference?

Intention = desire + action

Wish = imagination without action

When you make something your INTENTION, you increase the chances of it happening maximally. It may still not happen, of course. But the odds improve astronomically.

To illustrate this even greater, I will go back to my days as a skater.

When you’re performing a trick on a skateboard (or whatever else), your highest chance of succeeding is going all in on it.

However, it’s not easy to do so due to fear, lack of skills…etc. So many times skaters would simply test the waters with an easier trick or maybe jump and then kick the board away.

Unless you’re in their head or have a lot of wisdom and observation, you can’t really know 100% whether they are going all in or not.

However, the skater does know whether he has real intent (commitment) or simply a wish (playing around).

And that program, friends, increases your chances of developing a real intention for change rather than remaining in “I wish” land.

It’s time to get real now and go for it.

– the Natty Professor

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10 comments

  1. Franck

    My Man, you are the best writer hands down.Greets from Germany

  2. mattsk1

    Everyone exerts energy, mostly by not dealing with feelings and getting absorbed in behaviors and obsessions to what we learned to survive growing up. So when you learn to take care of yourself physically/mentally it really provide capacity to do other things that are more benificial. The downside is once your not using energy as you did before you will naturally go back to it or something similar and the change in behavior needs to be intentional and with help of others if needed for it to progress.

    Just like with life a 150kg Bench Press is not attainable but you can work on getting stronger at it and make progress. 60kg to 60.25kg and doing one more rep then last time is still progress. Done consistantly and finding ways to push through the stalls is how one makes more gains then they thought they could. If every day you trying 150kg bench press you will get hurt and not want to do anything and go back to what ever is comfortable.

  3. Jose

    Great down to earth advice as usual.

    Interesting how you put the example of the pandemic. Like many other times in recent history, I think most of what happened back then were just the elites instilling havoc and confusion so they could profit from it in the markets, because they work in cycles after all.

    Whether it was all planned or they just saw the opportunity in the initial chaos brought by the virus, it’s open to debate. Unfortunately, given how successful this scheme was (and how so many people were willing to support anything in exchange of security), I also see very likely that they will repeat it at least in a few years. They just allowed normalcy to return for now because they aren’t stupid. They realized that extending the “emergency” and restrictions forever was going to backfire because they obviously didn’t make sense anymore (like coercing everyone to get a vaccine that clearly wasn’t going to eradicate the virus as they initially claimed/lied).

  4. Edu

    En lo que respecta al gimnasio ya no hago ciclos y progresiones. Entreno una sencilla rutina dos o tres veces por semana full body de tres o cuatro ejercicios y trato de darlo todo. A la mierda con dietas super estrictas y el mito del progreso infinito. Voy mas por salud mental

  5. SamS

    Truth, I was wondering why the hell you were so positive suddenly 😀 Just kidding, I don’t know if it was or has been just a random feeling, but I’ve felt that your mood is different from your writings (in a good way). Maybe it’s because of your “diet”. The productivity has been admirable, you have really created quality content at a crazy pace. You can write a phone book while it takes me to write a sentence.

    This here “You can’t change without trying new things. And one of the biggest obstacles in front of new horizons is overcoming the starting barrier” took me probably over three decades to figure out. Yes, I knew this was a thing, but I needed someone else to really point it out. But hey, better late than never, right?

    I’m a 7th Dan master procrastinator with low self-esteem and tendency to get depressed easily. So, starting or trying out new things is and has been super difficult for me in my life. What really helped me was the supe geek nerd author Josh Kaufman. He has written and done a shit ton of books and whatnot, but what really capsulized it for me was his TED Talk about learning (you can find it on YouTube “The first 20 hours – how to learn anything”).

    In his TED Talk Kaufman talks about a similar idea that Truth describes in this article, “the starting barrier”. Kaufman says that when we start something new, we have this so called “frustration barrier” which is in short, the time it takes to get over the worst part of the learning curve. After that, things start to run much more fluidly. And this is something that is typical for all of us.

    This really made things easier for me. I don’t like the idea that people suffer with something, but I’ve always found comfort from the fact that there are other people who suffer with similar things that I do. By understanding the starting barrier / frustration point, and the fact that pretty much everybody fights with it, I’ve been able to start new things more easily, and I’ve been able to stick with those things long enough to reap the benefits.

  6. Jase

    Hey Truth Seeker,

    Incredible post with actionable advice that does not make unrealistic promises. I had bought A Hater’s Synthesis (Part 1) as a naive teenager back in 2015. Upon reading, I dismissed its ideas as those of a loser and pessimist.

    I bought both parts again this year and fully agree now with the ideas within after becoming an adult. Thank you for red-pilling me. Please keep the philosophical posts and books coming. They will help other young men from years of wasted time and suffering.

  7. Valentin

    Are you located in the US?

  8. Playboy Beebop

    Interesting that this article came in a moment i had a similar realization.
    I had been drinking too much, not fullblown alcoholism, but certanly drinking enough to be considered an unhealthy amount. I end up binge drinking every saturday night, and then having some more at family lunch on sundays. So instead of quit drinking or setting some limit of drinks “forever”, what i have been doing is doing lately a 1 month cycle of no drinking, then i go back on it for a couple of weekends, now i’m going for another cycle, probably longer , of no drinking.
    Of corse, it’s not ideal, it would be better just quit altogether. But it’s very doable, gives me a break for the body to recover and gradually trains the mind to enjoy activities i usually associate with drinking (going out to sing at karaoke, play guitar with friends, socialize in general…) without it. So each time i come back to it, i feel it less and less needed.

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